How Much Will Your Wedding Dress Cost in 2018?

According to quotes provided by bridal salons and wedding dress makers nationwide within the last 12 months, couples in the United States can expect to pay an average of for their wedding dress, which is roughly and average of % of their total wedding budget. In terms of cost, this generally ranks number 8 in terms of cost behind buying wedding decorations and ahead of hiring a wedding videographer. You can also see a complete list of average wedding costs here.

Keep in mind that these average costs are influenced by brides that spend much more than others in their area for extravagant wedding dresses, so the number reported will be higher than the actual median amount spent by brides in a given area. Dresses can cost thousands of dollars if it carries the label of a famous designer, like Reem Acra or Vera Wang. However, thrifty brides working with a budget can find different ways to buy beautiful wedding gowns for only a couple hundred dollars or less by following some of the great tips that appear on the bottom of this page.

2018 City and State Averages

Brand designers very much determine wedding gown prices, and brides that live in some cities are willing to pay much more for a fabulous dress than brides in other areas. Shown below are the average budgets for wedding dresses over the past 9-12 months. How does your area compare?* NOTE: The amounts appearing below are updated throughout the year.

The Average Cost of Wedding Bridal Salons by State

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What is Included?

The final cost of any wedding dress depends on three main factors.

  • The costs associated with the fabric and materials the dress is made of. Using pricier materials like satin instead of polyester will increase the cost of the dress.

  • The labor costs involved with sewing and working with the material to assemble the dress. The more elaborate the design, the more work hours are naturally involved.

  • The transportation costs involved with moving the dress from where it was made to the bride's location.

The type of establishment where a bride buys her wedding dress at is one of the biggest determinants of how much she will spend on it. Keep in mind that different establishments are known locally for carrying and selling lower, moderate or higher priced options to their customers.

  • Designer Salons: For those brides where price is not an object, the most fabulous dresses by famous designers such as Vera Wang, Reem Acra, Priscilla of Boston, Pronovias, and the like are available.

  • Local Bridal Salons: The vast majority of brides will purchase their wedding dresses from either a nationwide chain or local bridal store. More affordable “off-the-rack” dresses are also available at these locations.

  • Trunk Shows: Designers at these sales events show their most recent collections to their best clients. Many dresses that are available at these shows may not even be available at stores.

  • Department Stores: Some major department stores also have wedding dresses for sale. Contact the ones in your area to find one that does.

  • Online Sites: Many online retailers offer deals on hundreds of dresses. While you will not be able to see or touch them prior to purchase, the prices often cannot be beat.

Some brides for any number of reasons may also choose to have their gown custom made. The final price of a custom dress can vary widely depending on the specific material being used. Below are just some of the materials you can buy by the yard to make your wedding dress, with some materials like Silk Taffeta and Silk Charmeuse costing much more than other materials like Organza, Chiffon, and Eversong Brocade.

  • Silk Charmeuse

  • Silk Taffeta

  • Silk Dupioni

  • French Satin

  • Bridal Taffeta

  • Duchess Satin

  • Organza

  • Chiffon

  • Eversong Brocade

Regardless of where you will be buying your dress, remember to factor in the additional costs you’ll incur such as sales tax, shipping costs, and of course the cost of alterations which can easily be hundreds of dollars. Alterations can be made either by an in-house alteration specialist at the bridal salon where the dress is purchased or by an independent seamstress you trust.

Lastly, don’t forget about any accessories, undergarments, and other items you’ll want to wear with your dress such as a veil, wrap, belt and/or matching shoes and jewelry.

Key Points to remember:

  • In 2018, the average cost of buying a wedding dress is around {averageWeddingCost}, which comes out to {AveragePercentage}% of a US couple's total wedding budget.

  • Your final cost will depend on where you buy your dress. Designer boutiques will sell dresses for tens of thousands of dollars, while inexpensive options can be had for one to two hundred dollars.

  • Custom made dresses may not necessarily be cheaper than moderately priced gowns, depending on the specific material being used.

  • Remember that there are additional costs added to your bottom line, such as taxes, the cost of alterations, delivery charges, and any accessories you’ll also be wearing to match your selected bridal gown.

Tips on Saving Money on Your Wedding Dress

Most brides will prepare and budget to buy a pricey dress for their once in a lifetime wedding. But if you do not have the kind of money to buy a costly dress that in all likelihood you will only wear once, then we have some great tips on how to save big!

  • Buy a secondhand dress directly from another bride, either one you know or (more likely) from an online site like craigslist. They have only been worn once and you’ll probably save 50% or more from the original purchase price!

  • Buy your wedding skirt and top separately. Separates not only give you more options on how your final look will turn out, but you will also save an incredible amount of money. This is a modern trend that we believe will only grow.

  • Sample gowns that have been previously tried on by other brides at a bridal salon can be had at deep, deep discounts. Just ask the salon owner for when their sample sale date is.

  • Rent a dress instead of buying! Online sources will ship your selected dress for you for prices starting at around $100. In most cases you will pay for the amount of time you want to keep the dress and ship the dress back to the site when you’re done.

  • New collections available at trunk shows may sometimes be bought at discounts of up to 20%.

  • If you’re buying at a salon, seek options that are as simple as possible (preferably made with one fabric) and add your own accessories and embellishments to complete the look.

  • Consider a pre-owned dress that is to your liking from consignment shops in your area or from online sources like EBay. If you don’t mind it being previously worn you can enjoy incredible savings of up to 50% that way.

  • Buying a pre-owned gown also means no sales tax depending where it is purchased or shipping costs. You might also get additional goodies like a matching veil or belt thrown in for free.

  • Nontraditional dresses such as cocktail gowns are a beautiful option and can actually be worn more than once!

  • Visit your local thrift stores for a vintage dress that you can have updated by your own seamstress or tailor.

  • For the ultimate in savings, you can ask to simply borrow a dress from a friend or member of your family that wears a similar size and that won't mind lending it to you.

Regardless of where you’ll ultimately buy your wedding gown, try negotiating the price down! Even if your salon or boutique won’t lower the price of the dress itself, they will more likely than not be receptive to negotiating the accessories. Remember you won’t know what is possible until you ask and start negotiating with your dress consultant. As consultants usually work on commission, they will likely be open to working with you instead of risking losing your business.